Issue 38 — March 5, 2018
Sam Radocchia is co-founder at Chronicled
She’s been involved in the blockchain ecosystem for the last four years, and has built several businesses focused on connecting supply chain data in the apparel industry, which led her to the idea for Chronicled.
What sparked your journey into the blockchain industry?
Back in 2009, when I was in undergrad, I did my anthropology thesis on a video game called Second Life. Except it wasn’t just a video game. It was a virtual world where people’s avatars lived, played, and worked. And just like in the real world, people needed a way to exchange value with each other. If someone sewed a virtual shirt, they wanted to be compensated for doing so. The solution? Linden Labs, the company behind the game, came up with a virtual currency that players could use within the game — and even exchange for real currency outside of the game. Today, we call that cryptocurrency. At the time, it was simply a way to compensate people or pay for goods and services within the game.
I ended up going on to study the interface of technology and society for my Master’s degree between 2011–2013 and became fascinated with cryptocurrencies as a mechanism to bridge these online and offline worlds.
Also around that time, in 2010, I had started a company working to facilitate inventory interoperability between ERP and POS systems in the apparel industry. It was a combination of my academic interests and pursuits in crypto/virtual currencies as well as my obsession as an entrepreneur to facilitate trusted interoperability in the context of inventory data that led me to co-founding Chronicled.
We like to joke there is no life before blockchain… but what did you do before?
I started my first technology company while I was an undergraduate at Colgate University. While I primarily studied digital cultures, linguistics, and symbolic systems, I was also a self taught programmer. I ended up co-founding two companies with the goal of facilitating interoperability and free exchange of data (whether that be inventory data, pricing data, etc.) but it wasn’t until I discovered the non-financial possobilities for blockchain that I realized the full potential of the technology.
What problem is your company, Chronicled, solving?
Chronicled has created a decentralized supply chain protocol and network. We offer out of the box protocols and smart contracts to model and automate supply chain business processes.
High level, we think of it as Proof of Supply Chain Event (Compliance, Responsibility, Origin, Authenticity, Custody, etc.) to a constituent (Regulator, Customer)
Some examples of this type of interaction could include:
- A pharmaceutical manufacturer using the Chronicled protocol to prove to the FDA that they are adhering to DSCSA
- A cosmetics brand using the Chronicled protocol to prove that the source material for a product is accredited and safe
- The G-Coin Gold token using the Chronicled protocol to prove to token holders that gold is responsibly sourced
- A Nike customer using the Chronicled protocol to prove that the shoes she purchased are real
So what problem is this solving? Many.
- Proof / Immutability by representing an object, device, or sensor on the blockchain. When we started the company in 2014, the mission was simple — how can we create a unique, unforgeable, cryptographic link between a real world object and blockchain?
- Extending the trust boundary and enabling standard business logic to be enforced across an entire supply chain system
- Automation within the new trust boundary. Chronicled protocol primitives are standardized and can be automated between trusted parties
I’m pumped to be working on these problems. I grew up as the child of the owner of a large family run national retail business. I spent my childhood playing hide and seek with my brothers in one of my dad’s warehouses, hiding underneath the vast networks of slides and machines, routing packages to where they needed to go with computers and automated bar code scanners. Working optimizing supply chain and logistics is in my blood.
And beyond that, I truly believe that we have a real opportunity to make a positive impact in this world. We can eliminate or at least mitigate things like conflict minerals, child labor, irresponsibly sourced Mica, you name it.
Talk me through a day in your life — what are you typically working on and what does that look like?
For the first three years of the business, I served as Chief Product Officer, focused on architecting and designing our systems. Last year, I was awarded the Forbes 30 Under 30 for Enterprise Technology, which opened up a lot of doors for me to educate individuals and businesses about this new technology. Now, I am CMO / jill of all trades / special ops ninja / co-founder. I travel, speak, educate and on a given day might be meeting with Fortune 100 board members, world leaders, engineers, or anyone in between to come up with new ways to spread Chronicled’s message.
What’s been the most interesting or inspiring experience you’ve had in the crypto / blockchain space thus far?
I’m most inspired by the hard working individuals who have been in this space long before anyone even knew what a blockchain was. As success is finding its way to these people and their companies, they are still here, working their asses off, building infrastructure because of the sheer passion and belief they hold for the decentralized future.
What are some transformative ideas you’re excited about in the blockchain space?
I am hands-down most excited about the combination of open networks with data privacy. At Chronicled, we pioneered a zk-SNARK based privacy solution to wrap our smart contracts / supply chain events. What this allows businesses and ecosystems to do is to participate together on an open network, realizing all the benefits of decentralizing, without revealing competitive business intelligence or data. This technological advancement was the first step in seeing traditional enterprises move to a new social paradigm and data sharing model.
What are you most skeptical of and why?
I am most skeptical of our social conditioning that has led to data monopolies and that mindset permeating into blockchain such that companies will try to own or control blockchain networks. It shouldn’t be that way. We have an opportunity here to re-invent the wheel and create a truly decentralized web 3.0.
What types of technologies or tools do you think will be most impactful in the crypto space?
- Better User Experience
In my first company, I patented a one click integration button for various ERP systems, like the famous Amazon v. Barnes and Noble one click checkout proposal. Blockchain needs that. It needs to be simple, intuitive, and accessible. It needs to be a one click integration or checkout. Not a back and forth between multiple wallets, Metamask, etc.
It seems like blockchain mania has taken the world by storm. What aspects of this technology do you think will be disappointing?
I think we are overestimating what can be done on blockchains in respect to scalability and infrastructure. There are a lot of new ideas being proposed — particularly to tokenize EVERYTHING, hah — but the reality is the underlying infrastructure needs to be worked out and optimized before we see things like our jackets tokenized and traded, every IoT device registered on blockchain, etc.
What I do think will happen is a broader technological shift at the confluence of multiple emergent technologies. If we think of blockchain technology as the Operating System for the future, it is the underlying backbone that will allow for the free exchange and aggregation of all sorts of data across industries. As we sensorize our world and collect more and more IoT sensor or device data, and that data is shared, we then can build complex AI or Machine Learning systems on top of that to see a truly automated, machine to machine, economy.